Ever get recurring smell "hallucinations?"

Every so often, I get the smell of ball point pen ink in my head. I realize that I’m not actually smelling anything, but I just can’t get the smell out of my head (much like when you can’t get a song out of your head). Another one is the smell of spit on my pillow after I’ve been drooling in my sleep. Does anyone else get these?

All the time. Barbecued pork and cat litter are my two most frequent.

I’ve only had this happen after very strong olfactory stimuli, such as visiting a friend’s house where the catbox hadn’t been changed recently enough. I was smelling hallucinatory cat-poo for days.

I used to occasionally smell things not there. A lot of people, if not most. have pretty strong memory associations with smells, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find that thinking about something, even subconsciously or fleetingly, brings the smell up. Kind of like day-dreaming, but smells.

My college friend told me it was a sign of brain tumors, so for the next several years if I smelled something and he didn’t, I’d just say “Oh, never mind, just a brain tumor”. It’s something I still think to myself today, though I don’t say it out loud 'cause my S.O. wouldn’t get it.

I’d like to note that its my understanding that smelling something that isn’t there is a possible indication of a stroke (or something like that). And hearing something that isn’t there is also.

My SO had both those things happen one day. It took me about a minute to go “okay…this is NOT good…time to head on down to the ER poste haste”. Things resolved fine thankfully.

But again, if you get these and its pretty strong (particularly if it has NOT happened before) you might wanna see a doctor or sumptin toot sweet.

I’d also say there is probably a big difference between “imagining” that a smell is there and “swearing” that one that does not exist does.

Never. Occasionally I get very mild, auditory hallucinations that my alarm clock is still going off when I’m half-asleep in the morning, but never olfactory.

Yes. Every so often I get this smell of…for a lack of better words, absolutely nothing. Like a complete absence of smell. My nose always feels the same way, my brain always has the same reaction of “Oh, here’s that weird complete lack of smell again” and I always have a deja vu-like reaction of experiencing it in my childhood or just in the past. It’s a really strange experience.

If I smell something imaginary (which rarely happens), I always want to say “I can smell burnt toast!”

This is what I usually get–I run into some awful smell, and my nose “remembers” it long after I’m away from the original stink and couldn’t possibility still be smelling it.

I’m going to reiterate the advice about olfactory hallucinations being a very real brain problem.

Seriously, if someone is sitting in a clean place and says, “I smell rotten eggs,” or another strong, non-appropriate aroma, haul ass to the ER.

This could be indicative of a stroke, or it could be a type of seizure and definitely needs to be investigated ASAP.


This is not something to take lightly, you should talk to your doctor. This can be a sign of underlying, or developing, brain damage of several kinds including the early development of a brain tumor. It is not just something harmless that some people get and others don’t.

Read up on Phantosmia.


I’ll tell you this. I have gone to ER a fair number of times. Check in and then sit and sit and sit some more.

Go in with somebody who is smelling things that aren’t there and hearing things that aren’t there? You’ll be in the back very damn quick.

If you have had weird smell things going on for your whole life and the doctors have checked things out you might or might not be okay. If its something NEW get it checked out pronto!

(I am not your doctor and you are not my patient and I don’t like your doctor or you as my patient :slight_smile: )

This sounds more like you actually think you’re smelling something. In my case, it’s not really any different than playing a song in my head (a Ke$ha song if I’m lucky) or thinking of a picture.

I have also developed a bit of anosmia in the mornings. When I first wake up, and for about an hour after being upright, I can’t smell anything. This is fairly new, only the last couple of years. But I do wonder what kind of pressure is shifting around in my brain when I lie down that this happens.

At my age, I’ve been to the ER at least a zillion times for myself, and another ten zillion times with family members.

Yes, it’s a dreadful time-eater. Go in spurting from an artery, have a busted bone, or complain of chest pain and you are taken seriously.

Go in with a seizure or symptoms of a stroke, and the attention is immediate.

It’s truly best for the person who is NOT a medical professional to leave the diagnosing to those who have the degree. Talk to your family doctor. Chances are, you’ll be told that it’s MUCH better to visit the ER and be told you have heartburn from that spicy chili than to sit at home munching Tums while dying of a heart attack.

It’s too bad this is a rare and dangerous thing. If so, imagine getting your SO to believe she had this?!

“Oh God, did you fart?”

“What? No honey… your olfactory hallucinations must be acting up again…”

Yeah, but if it was damn good chili it was worth it :slight_smile:

You gonna blame auditory hallucinations for the sound effects?

This happens with me sometimes. The most memorable were two instances when I encountered exceptionally smelly humans.

I went through a couple of periods when I smelled a chemical smell, rather like an aromatic hydrocafbon. I though maybe I was spilling ketones. Nobody else could smell it. I asked my doctor, he confirmed that I was not spilling ketones, and he said I might have an inner nasal infection that is releasing a slight amount of a chemical that only I can detect. He didn’t seen overly concerned about it